Friday, August 4, 2017

THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH

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Let Go Suffering Through the Eight-fold Path


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." - Buddha

In another article, I wrote about the 'Four Noble Truths' as taught by Buddha, or at least my understanding of them. In short, they tell us that there will be suffering and that suffering can be relieved through following our ethical and spiritual paths.

One of the bases for the cessation of suffering in Eastern philosophy is known as the Eight-fold Path. This is the path that the Buddha described in the 4th Noble Truths.

For me, the Eight-fold Path is a wonderful beginning to understanding the nature of things "as they are". Although I am not a true Buddhist, the Eight-fold Path continues to be a source of light as I grow to understand my own sufferings and aspire to liberate others along the way.

Below, I will give my layman interpretation of the Eight-fold Path, what it means to me, and why I think it's important. 


Eight-fold Path


This Eight-fold path helps us attain the state of Nirvana - a place of perfect peace and happiness - by freeing us from attachments and delusions, thereby helping us to understand the innate truth of all things. This path, therefore, helps us with ethical and mental growth and development.

Buddha laid great emphasis on implementing the teachings since a higher level or existence can be attained only by translating thoughts into actions.



*In the teachings below, please interpret the word "Right" as meaning 'pure, honest, and from the heart' rather than a judgment of 'right and wrong'.




The Eight-fold path suggested by Buddha involves adherence to:


1. The Right View

This means seeing things from a higher perspective. Seeing things as they really are, without any false illusions or pretenses. It means to see and understand the temporary and transient nature of worldly ideas and possessions; and to understand that cessation of suffering requires non-attachment to the idea of permanence.

2. The Right Thought

"What we think, we become." What goes on inside our minds (our thought process) determines our course of action. It is, therefore, necessary to follow the path of Right Thought along with Right Intention. To have the Right Intention behind the Right Thought is of utmost importance to maintaining ones ethical standard. Awareness of our purpose or role in life helps make the passage of suffering more bearable, allowing us to think in ways that keep us on our life-paths.

3. The Right Speech

This means to simply speak truth (with compassion and love), to avoid slander and malicious gossip, and to refrain from abusive language toward oneself as well as toward others. Harsh words that can cause distress or offend others should also be avoided while also staying clear of mindless idle chatter which lacks any depth.

4. The Right Action

Behaving peacefully and harmoniously; Right Action, to me, means:
  • Staying in harmony with ourselves and fellow sentient beings
  • Behaving peacefully toward ourselves and fellow sentient beings
  • Avoiding overindulgence in temporary pleasure (Instant gratification)
  • Abstaining from ethical misconduct, fraudulent behavior, deceitfulness, or conspiracy to deceit.
  • Aligning our 'Right Intentions' with our thoughts and actions.

5. The Right Livelihood

This means to earn our abundance without resorting to illegal and nefarious activities; nor at the exploitation of other sentient beings.

6. The Right Effort

This means to remove our limiting beliefs, outdated values, and influences of others as it relates to 'Right Thinking' and 'Right Action'. It means we have to train our minds to think in the right direction if we wish to achieve our aspirations with inner-peace. Once we gain control over our thoughts and replace the unpleasant ones with something pleasant, we begin moving with 'Right Effort'.

7. The Right Mindfulness

The Right Mindfulness, together with the Right Concentration, forms the basis of Meditation. This is a purposeful mental focus on our emotions, states of mind, and physical well-being,  while staying away from worldly desires and other distractions that invariably induce suffering. This refers to the ability of the mind to see things as they are without being led astray by judgment or attachment.

8. The Right Concentration

This principle is fundamental for proper meditation. Meditation is one of the few ways to achieve true inner-peace. Meditation allows us to open ourselves as a conduit to receive higher understanding and wisdom. This is the most vital of all the aspects stated in the Eight-fold path since, without higher understanding and wisdom, one cannot move on to a higher level of well-being.


So there we have it... my basic laymen understanding of the Eight-fold Path. This path has lit my way through the darkness as I aspire to assist others into the light. Staying on this path has helped me weather many storms and grow exponentially from the lessons.

I hope this has provided some light and helps you take the next steps toward creating a life of joy and contentment.


Stay Zen!


*Acknowledgments and credits: 
Zen-Buddhism.net
The collective works of Thích Nhất Hạnh



Joe Vulgamore CHT is is a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist, and Holistic Healer. He is author of the Best-selling book "Alignment- Law of Attraction and the Seven Universal Laws" and "Powerful Powerful You - Understanding Your Power". For almost 30 years, Joe has helped thousands of people from over 14 countries, across 5 continents, to make life-transformations through one-to-one coaching, books, and workshops.

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